Enjoy the real labor day today. And remember, little niceties like the 40-hour work week, weekends, lunch hours, workplace safety regulations, collective bargaining, child labor laws, workers compensation, and other things we take for granted came about not because employers suddenly felt generous but because millions of organized workers demanded them.
I’ve been a proud member of the municipal laborers union in Chicago, the National Writers Union, and the Newspaper Guild in my adult life. My sympathies and loyalties will always be for union members. And it galls me to live in a state that operates under phony-assed “right-to-work” laws and doesn’t allow government employees to unionize.
Here’s hoping those two insults to human toil are overturned within my lifetime.
Tweedledum And Tweedledee
Many observers would have you believe this holy land was born of hard work, faith in god, fiscal prudence, iron, steel, plastic, the blood and sweat of human chattel until 1865, and that of obeisant wage slaves thereafter. They may be partly right.
They’d be 100 percent correct, on the other hand, if they’d simply said America is made of myth.
And perhaps the most mythic being in America’s history was Ronald Reagan. To hear some people tell it, he single-handedly brought down an evil empire of some 350 million people. And then he went out back to chop some wood.
Leave it to the Onion to set the record straight. I was thumbing through that gang’s most recent offering, The Onion Book of Known Knowledge, and came upon the entry for the president whose wife bestowed upon us the unassailable wisdom of “Just Say No.”
Herewith, from the Onion Book, is everything you need to known about Ronald Reagan and the United States of America:
Ronald Reagan (b. Feb. 6, 1911 d. June 5, 2004), 4oth president of the United States who over two terms in office tripled the national debt, funded the group that would become al-Qaeda while trying to expel the Russian military from Afghanistan, and vastly expanded the federal government, making him the least Reaganesque president in history. Though the Illinois native set himself up to be the quintessential Reaganite president by promising in his 1981 inaugural speech to reduce the size of government and rein in spending, he actually built up an enormous peacetime military and drove the federal deficit to unprecedented levels, a decidedly un-Reaganesque move. Reagan went on to violate almost every tenet of traditional, small-government Reaganism by approving 61,000 new federal jobs, reneging on his pledge to cut taxes, and then increasing payroll and gasoline taxes. Even when Reagan was at his most Reaganesque — authorizing covert military operations against the Communist Sandanista government — he only managed it by illegally trading arms to Iran to fund the Nicaraguan rebel Contras, who in turn trafficked narcotics to the United States, effectively negating his Reaganesque antidrug policies. Most historians agree that by balancing the federal budget and shrinking the federal government by 373,000 workers, Bill Clinton was the most Reaganesque president of all time.
It’s a wonder Reagan was never accused of being a socialist plant born outside this country.
The Real Reagan
The Down Low
Now comes word that newly-out NBA player Jason Collins had a long-time fiance who is making the talk show rounds to say she was “floored” by the news.
Carolyn Moos, herself a former professional basketball player, says she and Collins were kissin’ in a tree for eight years, up until the moment Collins called off their planned marriage suddenly in 2009. TMZ reports that Moos learned the man she dreamed of being her “husband, soul mate, and best friend” was gay just this past weekend.
How is all this possible? Presumably, Collins was having trysts with other members of the XX-chromosome set while pledging his troth to Moos. Sure, sure, the typical NBA player spends half his regular season on the road, thereby offering him ample opportunities for extracurricular activities. But, still, what an actor he must have been!
Moos (upon his return from a road trip): How was your trip, honey?
Collins: Fine, fine.
M: What’d you do?
C: Nothin’ much. The usual.
Imagine the delusional world two people must inhabit wherein that simple exchange can work. I know The Loved One looks sidelong at me through a narrowed eye should I happen to mention the name of any female twice within the space of a week. And I’ve felt tempted to grill her under a harsh light whenever she gushes about how much she enjoys working with certain male colleagues.
Even in a loving, secure relationship the participants therein must, to borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan, trust but verify.
So, not only did Collins have to make up tall tales about the depth of his fidelity but he, presumably, had to pretend he dug seeing Carolyn Moos sans uniform. And she had to believe it all.
He’ll have to answer to his conscience for lying about his dalliances. The rest of us bear a collective responsibility for making him lie about the equipment his preferred sex partners possess.